When looking for safety equipment, you'll have to consider your child's nature as well as the specific hazards in your living space. Different families have different needs, but here are four safety devices that should no home should be without:
You should have at least one smoke detector in every bedroom, as well as in the adjacent hallway, and on every level of your home. Carefully follow the installation instructions and replace the batteries at least once a year.
Childproof latches for doors, drawers, and cupboards
Any child who's old enough to move from one place to another is old enough to open cabinets or escape through a door. Childproof latches are an easy, inexpensive way to prevent disaster.
A sturdy gate can keep your child away from just about any potential hazard, including stairs, an exposed heater, and a Christmas tree. Some gates are made to fit in doorways, while fancier versions can expand to fit almost anywhere or around almost anything. Hardware-mounted gates are generally safer and more parent-friendly than pressure-mounted gates, which often cause more wall damage.
Electrical outlet covers
If your child sees you plug something in, he'll want to try it, too. You don't want him plugging in appliances by himself, and you definitely don't want him sticking a fork or other metal object into the socket. Many young children have been electrocuted this way. Use sliding face-plate covers rather than push-in caps, which can be too easy or too difficult to remove and, when small, can be choking hazards.
If you need assistance in identifying and addressing the hazards in your home, consider consulting a child safety expert. A licensed professional can help you select and install the appropriate devices. Check with the International Association for Child Safety for a referral to a local professional.
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